Young, French male athletes undergoing intensive elite sports training at the National Training Centre in Clairefontaine served as the subjects (N = 180; age range: 13 to 16 years) in a 3-year dietary survey aimed at characterizing their nutritional intake in terms of energy, macronutrients, calcium, and iron. Each year, the subjects were grouped by level into 3 promotions so that 9 groups could be studied. Dietary intake data were collected each year for each subject in the 9 groups, using a 5-day food record. The results showed that their total energy intake (TEI) was insufficient for athletes (ranging from 2352 ± 454 to 3395 ± 396 kcal/d as opposed to the recommended range of between 3819 and 5185 kcal/d). Furthermore, their diet was unbalanced, with too great an emphasis upon fatty foods (29.1 ± 2.8 to 34.1 ± 3.1% TEI vs. the 20% recommended), to the detriment of carbohydrates (48.5 ± 4.3 to 56.6 ± 3.1% TEI vs. the 55 to 60% recommended). The calcium intake was too low in 5 of the 9 groups while, in contrast, the iron intake was satisfactory in all groups. Furthermore, during this 3-year period at the Clairefontaine Centre, the subjects significantly (p < .05) improved their calcium and iron intakes (1021 ± 197 and 12 ± 2 mg/d in 1996, 1299 ± 155 and 16 ± 2 mg/d in 1997, and 1252 ± 184 and 17 ± 2 mg/d in 1998). This rise in micronutrient intakes may have been due to a physiological adaptation to growth or to the positive effects of courses on nutrition given during their stay at the Centre.
J.Ch. Leblanc and Ph. Verger are with the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, 147 rue de l’Universite, 75 338 Paris cedex 07, France. L. Malmauret and A. Kombadjian are with the Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon, 16 rue Claude Bernard, 75 005 Paris, France. F. Le Gall is with the Centre Technique National Fernand Sastre, 78 120 Clairefontaine, France. V. Grandjean is with the Centre d’Information des Viandes, 64 rue Taitbout, 75 009 Paris, France.